Film Review: World’s Greatest Dad

2010 – 99mn - 15

2010 – 99mn - 15

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait. Starring Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore.

Review by Walter Nichols

LAUDED by critics on its festival tour and US release, World’s Greatest Dad is a bit of a weird film. It’s the story of Lance (Robin Williams), a failed novelist and high school poetry teacher struggling to connect with his son Kyle (Daryl Sabara), a rude, selfish, sex-obsessed teen who likes strangling himself while watching German scheisseporn. Lance is in a relationship with pretty colleague Claire (Alexie Gilmore), but his shattered self-esteem causes him to invent trouble even there. When Kyle accidentally kills himself, Lance uses the opportunity to write a book, and become famous exploiting the tragedy.

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World’s Greatest Dad is packed full of dark, uncomfortable humor, and its intention is clearly to get in your face and strike a nerve. Still, there aren’t many laughs. Robin Williams makes Lance sweet and meek, and Alexie Gilmore (you’ll have seen her on lots of TV) is sexy, funny, and charismatic as his girlfriend. But most of the other characters, especially Sabara’s, are so unlikeable that it’s hard to care what’s happening to any of them. Structurally it’s all quite disjointed as well – the real story of the film doesn’t start until roughly halfway through, and then it’s over and wrapped up way too quickly. All the film does is prove – if it still needs proving – that Robin Williams can act, and has more range than the family-friendly mugging he’s famous for.

Star rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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